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1984 United States presidential election in Rhode Island

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1984 United States presidential election in Rhode Island

← 1980 November 6, 1984 1988 →
Turnout78.0%[1] Decrease 1.0 pp
Ronald Reagan presidential portrait crop.jpg
Vice President Mondale 1977 closeup.jpg
Nominee Ronald Reagan Walter Mondale
Party Republican Democratic
Home state California Minnesota
Running mate George H.W. Bush Geraldine Ferraro
Electoral vote 4 0
Popular vote 212,080 197,106
Percentage 51.66% 48.02%

County Results

President before election

Ronald Reagan

Elected President

Ronald Reagan

The 1984 United States presidential election in Rhode Island took place on November 6, 1984. All 50 states and the District of Columbia, were part of the 1984 United States presidential election. Rhode Island voters chose 4 electors to the Electoral College, which selected the president and vice president of the United States.

Rhode Island was won by incumbent United States President Ronald Reagan of California, who was running against former Vice President Walter Mondale of Minnesota. Reagan ran for a second time with incumbent Vice President and former C.I.A. Director George H. W. Bush of Texas, and Mondale ran with Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York, the first major female candidate for the vice presidency. As of the 2016 presidential election, it is the last time Rhode Island has voted for a Republican in a presidential election, making Rhode Island one of seven states to have voted Democratic in every election since this one; the others are Washington, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and New York. This was also the final time that the counties of Bristol, Newport and Washington voted for a Republican presidential candidate and the final time a Republican presidential candidate won Kent County or any county in the state until Donald Trump won it in 2016.

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Partisan background

The presidential election of 1984 was a very, very partisan election for Rhode Island, with just under 100% of the electorate voting either Democratic or Republican.[2]

Rhode Island weighed in for this election as 14% more Democratic than the national average. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Washington County, Newport County, and Bristol County voted for the Republican candidate.

Democratic platform

Walter Mondale accepted the Democratic nomination for presidency after pulling narrowly ahead of Senator Gary Hart of Colorado and Rev. Jesse Jackson of Illinois - his main contenders during what would be a very contentious[3] Democratic primary. During the campaign, Mondale was vocal about reduction of government spending, and, in particular, was vocal against heightened military spending on the nuclear arms race against the Soviet Union,[4] which was reaching its peak on both sides in the early 1980s.

Taking a (what was becoming the traditional liberal) stance on the social issues of the day, Mondale advocated for gun control, the right to choose regarding abortion, and strongly opposed the repeal of laws regarding institutionalized prayer in public schools. He also criticized Reagan for his economic marginalization of the poor, stating that Reagan's reelection campaign was "a happy talk campaign," not focused on the real issues at hand.[5]

A very significant political move during this election: the Democratic Party nominated Representative Geraldine Ferraro to run with Mondale as Vice-President. Ferraro is the first female candidate to receive such a nomination in United States history. She said in an interview at the 1984 Democratic National Convention that this action "opened a door which will never be closed again,"[6] speaking to the role of women in politics.

Republican platform

Reagan challenging Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!," from the Brandenburg Gate in June, 1987. Reagan's firm stance with the Soviet Union was an important contributor to his 1984 reelection.
Reagan challenging Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!," from the Brandenburg Gate in June, 1987. Reagan's firm stance with the Soviet Union was an important contributor to his 1984 reelection.

By 1984, Reagan was very popular with voters across the nation as the President who saw them out of the economic stagflation of the early and middle 1970's, and into a period of (relative) economic stability.[7]

The economic success seen under Reagan was politically accomplished (principally) in two ways. The first was initiation of deep tax cuts for the wealthy,[8] and the second was a wide-spectrum of tax cuts for crude oil production and refinement, namely, with the 1980 Windfall profits tax cuts.[9] These policies were augmented with a call for heightened military spending,[10] the cutting of social welfare programs for the poor,[11] and the increasing of taxes on those making less than $50,000 per year.[8] Collectively called "Reaganomics", these economic policies were established through several pieces of legislation passed between 1980 and 1987.

These new tax policies also arguably curbed several existing tax loopholes, preferences, and exceptions, but Reaganomics is typically remembered for its trickle down effect of taxing poor Americans more than rich ones. Reaganomics has (along with legislation passed under presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton) been criticized by many analysts as "setting the stage" for economic troubles in the United State after 2007, such as the Great Recession.[12]

Virtually unopposed during the Republican primaries, Reagan ran on a campaign of furthering his economic policies. Reagan vowed to continue his "war on drugs," passing sweeping legislation after the 1984 election in support of mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession.[13] Furthermore, taking a (what was becoming the traditional conservative) stance on the social issues of the day, Reagan strongly opposed legislation regarding comprehension of gay marriage, abortion, and (to a lesser extent) environmentalism,[14] regarding the final as simply being bad for business.

Republican victory

Reagan won the election in Rhode Island by a narrow 4-point margin, and this is the most recent election where the state has sent Republican electors to the Electoral College (as of the 2016 presidential election). The election results in the typically Democratic state of Rhode Island are reflective of a nationwide reconsolidation of base for the Republican Party which took place through the 1980s, called by Reagan the "second American Revolution.'[7] This was most evident during the 1984 presidential election. No Republican candidate has received as strong of support in the Atlantic Northeast, at large, as Reagan did. In fact, until Donald Trump won a plurality in Kent County in 2016, no county in the state was ever to vote Republican after this election.[15]

It is speculated that Mondale lost support with voters nearly immediately during the campaign, namely during his acceptance speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. There he stated that he intended to increase taxes. To quote Mondale, "By the end of my first term, I will reduce the Reagan budget deficit by two thirds. Let's tell the truth. It must be done, it must be done. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did."[5] Despite this claimed attempt at establishing truthfulness with the electorate, this promise to raise taxes badly eroded his chances in what had already begun as an uphill battle against the charismatic Ronald Reagan.

Reagan also enjoyed high levels of bipartisan support during the 1984 presidential election, both in Rhode Island, and across the nation at large. Many registered Democrats who voted for Reagan (Reagan Democrats) stated that they had chosen to do so because they associated him with the economic recovery, because of his strong stance on national security issues with Russia, and because they considered the Democrats as "supporting American poor and minorities at the expense of the middle class."[14] These public opinion factors contributed to Reagan's 1984 landslide victory, in Rhode Island and elsewhere.


1984 United States presidential election in Rhode Island
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Republican Ronald Reagan 212,080 51.66% 4
Democratic Walter Mondale 197,106 48.02% 0
America First Bob Richards 510 0.12% 0
Libertarian David Bergland 277 0.07% 0
Citizen's Party Sonia Johnson 240 0.06% 0
Workers World Larry Holmes 91 0.02% 0
Communist Party Gus Hall 75 0.02% 0
Socialist Workers Party Melvin Mason 61 0.01% 0
New Alliance Party Dennis Serrette 49 0.01% 0
Write-Ins 3 >0.01% 0
Totals 410,492 100.0% 4

By county

County Reagan% Reagan# Mondale% Mondale# Others% Others#
Washington 57.6% 24,365 42.1% 17,793 0.3% 147
Newport 57.4% 19,629 42.3% 14,466 0.3% 114
Kent 56.2% 40,427 43.5% 31,352 0.3% 214
Bristol 55.2% 11,635 44.5% 9,386 0.3% 63
Providence 48.2% 116,024 51.5% 124,109 0.3% 765

See also


  1. ^ This figure is calculated by dividing the total number of votes cast in 1984 (422,851) by an estimate of the number of registered voters in Rhode Island in 1984 (542,216). See "General Election November 2, 1984". Rhode Island Board of Elections. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  2. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  3. ^ Kurt Andersen, "A Wild Ride to the End", Time, May 28, 1984
  4. ^ Trying to Win the Peace, by Even Thomas, Time, July 2, 1984
  5. ^ a b Mondale's Acceptance Speech, 1984, AllPolitics
  6. ^ Martin, Douglas (2011-03-27). "Geraldine A. Ferraro, First Woman on Major Party Ticket, Dies at 75". The New York Times. pp. A1. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Raines, Howell (November 7, 1984). "Reagan Wins By a Landslide, Sweeping at Least 48 States; G.O.P. Gains Strength in House". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "U.S. Federal Individual Income Tax Rates History, 1913–2011 (Nominal and Inflation-Adjusted Brackets)". Tax Foundation. September 9, 2011. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  9. ^ Joseph J. Thorndike (Nov 10, 2005). "Historical Perspective: The Windfall Profit Tax". Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  10. ^ Historical tables, Budget of the United States Government Archived 2012-04-17 at the Wayback Machine, 2013, table 6.1.
  11. ^ Niskanen, William A. (1992). "Reaganomics". In David R. Henderson (ed.). Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (1st ed.). Library of Economics and Liberty. OCLC 317650570, 50016270, 163149563
  12. ^ Jerry Lanson (2008-11-06). "A historic victory. A changed nation. Now, can Obama deliver?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  13. ^ Alexander, Michelle (2010). The New Jim Crow. New York: The New Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-1595581037.
  14. ^ a b Prendergast, William B. (1999). The Catholic vote in American politics. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press. pp. 186, 191–193. ISBN 0-87840-724-3.
  15. ^ Sullivan, Robert David; ‘How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century’; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016
This page was last edited on 18 September 2019, at 14:29
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